Here in SE Texas a lot of independent operators on the domes run the cold gun-barrel separators.
The truck would show up to pick up a load, drop the thief and check the oil, oil wouldn’t meet specs, and the truck drove off without a load.
If the operator wanted to sell his oil he would first have to run it through a hot separator.
There were operators that offered the gathers their oil for $5, but they wouldn’t take it for that price without running it through a hot separator first.
A lot of people didn’t make it, myself included, there just wasn’t any money coming in to improve the production and it was costing more to produce from stripper wells than you were getting out of it.
On the west coast, the prices were further driven low by a ban on the exports. When it was finally lifted, less than 5% of the Alaskan oil was exported for a few years before it stopped.
The ability to export actually helps stabilize the market including investments for future production. I wish those fighting the LNG exports could understand that.